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Campaign Finance Reporting by Political Action Committees
Initial Report and Campaign Finance Reports
Upon initial registration, a PAC is required to file an initial campaign finance report documenting the PACs contributions and expenditures from the beginning of the calendar year through the date of registration. Once registered, PACs are also required to file ongoing campaign finance reports according to strict filing deadlines. Campaign finance reports must include all contributions received and expenditures made for the purpose of influencing an election in Maine. In addition to the scheduled campaign finance reports, committees may be required to file 24-Hour reports and Independent Expenditure reports.
Contributions of $5,000 or more received or expenditures of $1,000 or more made after the 14th day before the election must be reported in a 24-hour report. Certain expenditures of $1,000 or more are not required to be reported in a 24-hour report. Those expenditures are: overhead expenses, such as rent, utility payments and taxes; and compensation paid to employees or other members of campaign staff who have received regular payments disclosed in prior reports. This report can be filed electronically through the PAC's electronic filing home page.
Independent Expenditure Reports
A PAC that spends more than $100 on a communication to influence a candidate election - without cooperating, consulting, or acting in concert with the candidate - will have to file an independent expenditure report. The deadline for filing the report depends on the amount spent per candidate and when the expenditure was made. For more information see the Independent Expenditure section under the Guide to Political Activity section.
With the exception of independent expenditure reports, which must be submitted to the Commission on paper, all campaign finance reports must be filed electronically. All reports are due by 11:59 p.m. on the filing deadline.
Late Filed Reports
PACs that file late are subject to civil penalties up to $10,000, or if the amount of financial activity in the report is more than $50,000, one-fifth of the amount reported late. The failure to file a report within 30 days of the deadline is a Class E crime. The reports must be signed by the PAC's treasurer.
If a PAC registered with the Ethics Commission becomes involved in a municipal election, it must file copies of its state campaign finance reports with the clerk of the municipality.
Please contact the Commission staff with your questions at (207) 287-4179.
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